Taking What Looks Like An Ordinary Pill Can Lead To Unimaginable Consequences

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The Washington Examiner reported that fentanyl seizures by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have increased sharply in the first half of the government’s fiscal year (FY). In FY 2017, CBP reported seizing over 1,132 pounds of fentanyl. They already seized almost 1,070 pounds between October 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018. Fentanyl was not the only drug to see changes to its seizure amounts. Heroin and methamphetamine also saw sharp increases, while cocaine and marijuana were both down.

Karen Flowers, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) new agent in charge of the San Diego field office recently did an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Flowers discussed the unique factors that are in play with San Diego’s drug problem right now: a border city, multiple ports of entry, and being located on the water which makes the town a transshipment point.

Although methamphetamine is the biggest threat in San Diego and Imperial Counties, Flowers said her second biggest worry is fentanyl. “Here … we’ve primarily seen fentanyl being used in pill form. It’s counterfeit prescription meds, so it’s something you might think is a hydrocodone tablet or a Xanax or an OxyContin tablet is not what it appears, it’s actually some variant of fentanyl and some filler. I think that to me, is what keeps me up at night, knowing we are a society where taking a pill when you get a headache or an ache is second nature to us. Having someone unknowingly take this, who is not opioid indoctrinated, can have devastating consequences.”

Recently, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a woman from Lemon Grove received a four-year prison sentence for her role in a fentanyl ring operating in the region. Police discovered 33 pounds of fentanyl in the rented car being driven by Anna Baker. A search of her home turned up an additional 64 pounds of fentanyl. In total, the DEA estimated that this much fentanyl would make more than 14 million fatal doses.